Vicuñas are the smallest members of the camel family.
They were held in high regard by the ancient Inca population but, after south America was conquered by Spain, uncontrolled hunting for wool and meat almost destroyed the species. Strict protection laws have helped the animals to recover but they are still dependent on conservation measures, such as zoo breeding programs.
Vicuñas can be up to 1.9 metres long. Their tails can measure up to 30 centimetres and they weigh up to 65 kilograms.
Belfast Zoo has successfully bred this endangered species for many years, in their mountain top enclosure with stunning views across Belfast Lough.
IUCN red list status
For more information on classifications visit www.iucnredlist.org.
The IUCN does not believe the vicuña are in danger of going extinct as they are Least Concern.
Mountainous. Vicuñas are found in mountainous grasslands in the Andes, in countries such as Peru, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia
The vicuña population declined drastically in the 1960s. However, due to conservation measures there are now 350,000 vicuñas living in the wild. Their numbers are increasing steadily.
Herbivore. Vicuñas graze on short grass.